It is an initiative that will have far reaching consequences. In its pioneering effort, Butte College, California, has installed 25,000 solar panels in its premises to go “grid positive”. The system will generate more than 6.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually which is more than the annual power consumption of the college. The surplus power will be fed back to fuel the panels in the grid.
At a time when so much awareness is being generated in favor of green technology, the step taken by Butte college will surely set an example for other American institutions to go green. The use of electricity produced by harnessing solar energy is highly cost effective in the long run.
According to officials at the college, which is located 75 miles from Sacramento, the endeavor will save for the institution almost $50 to $75 million dollars in a time span of 15 years. In addition there will be a considerable relief from the ever-increasing power tariff. This surplus money, apart from covering the cost of installation will also be helpful in lowering the college fees and making education more affordable for students and thus increasing enrollments.
Since the college is spread over a huge 928 acre wildlife expanse, the eco-friendly step of going green is all the more beneficial especially for the surrounding environment and wildlife. California Community Colleges Chancellor, Jack Scott, has appealed to a large number of colleges to follow Butte College model. In this manner not only the educational institutions will contribute to the global effort in tackling global warming but also be able to make drastic reductions in their operating costs.
In case extra power is produced by employing solar energy, it can be a good source for revenue generation as well. In addition, he said that the employment and maintenance of ‘grid’ will also help the college in training students and thus creating a new work force equipped with expertise to install and harness solar energy. The step will eventually help California’s economy especially in the green field energy sector.